Video2_Sampling of Protein Conformational Space Using Hybrid Simulations: A Critical Assessment of Recent Methods.MP4
Recent years have seen several hybrid simulation methods for exploring the conformational space of proteins and their complexes or assemblies. These methods often combine fast analytical approaches with computationally expensive full atomic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations with the goal of rapidly sampling large and cooperative conformational changes at full atomic resolution. We present here a systematic comparison of the utility and limits of four such hybrid methods that have been introduced in recent years: MD with excited normal modes (MDeNM), collective modes-driven MD (CoMD), and elastic network model (ENM)-based generation, clustering, and relaxation of conformations (ClustENM) as well as its updated version integrated with MD simulations (ClustENMD). We analyzed the predicted conformational spaces using each of these four hybrid methods, applied to four well-studied proteins, triosephosphate isomerase (TIM), 3-phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK), HIV-1 protease (PR) and HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT), which provide extensive ensembles of experimental structures for benchmarking and comparing the methods. We show that a rigorous multi-faceted comparison and multiple metrics are necessary to properly assess the differences between conformational ensembles and provide an optimal protocol for achieving good agreement with experimental data. While all four hybrid methods perform well in general, being especially useful as computationally efficient methods that retain atomic resolution, the systematic analysis of the same systems by these four hybrid methods highlights the strengths and limitations of the methods and provides guidance for parameters and protocols to be adopted in future studies.